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Information about a potential patron saint: Holy Martyr Benjamin the Deacon


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#1 Benjamin Amis

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Posted 04 October 2010 - 06:39 PM

In looking for a patron saint, I've looked over a good deal of saints, and many appeal to me, but St. Benjamin the Deacon continues to stick out to me as my patron, but little seems to be known about him. I'm even unsure as to his feast day.

The information I have gives him two feast days, March 31 and October 13. Actually, different sources give him one of two feast days, and never references the other. The Russian Orthodox Christian Menaion on www.orthodox.net lists the Holy Martyr on the commemorations on October 13, he is not mentioned on March 31. Wikipedia, oddly, has an article about him and lists March 31, but not the October 13 date. The OCA Lives of the Saints places him on both March 31 and October 13, but gives a different account of his life. They do not conflict, they are just different, and do not reference each other. I've only found a single icon of him, on www.comeandseeicons.com. I cannot access the website from my work computer here, but it also only gives one of the dates and does not reference the other.

I understand that many saints have multiple feasts days: date of repose/martyrdom, translation of relics, date of glorification, etc. Sometimes they are commemorated with other saints (St. John Chrysostom comes to mind as a well-known example of having multiple commemorations). However, I'm perplexed about multiple feast days for this saint. He seems to have no relics kept by the Church, and isn't really even well-known. No sources even reference the other feast day given, much less explain why that date is the saint's feast.

Does anyone know anything about this saint and his feast day(s)? Any information would be greatly appreciated!

#2 Olga

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Posted 04 October 2010 - 11:13 PM

Accorting to the various sources (Greek, Russian, and English via Serbian) I have at hand, both March 31 and October 13 are feast days for St Benjamin the Deacon, who was martyred along with Abdas (also known as Abdaeus), bishop of Hormizd-Ardashir in Persia, in about 424. St Abdas also has two feast days, March 31 and September 5. Not much is written about St Benjamin, but I'll try to put together what I have on him in a later post.

#3 Benjamin Amis

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Posted 05 October 2010 - 01:04 PM

That's definitely him. I just never had a single source to mention both feast days, or have them reference each other (as I said, the OCA Lives of the Saints mentions both, but they do not reference each other and contain different, though not conflicting, hagiographies). Thanks Olga! I'd speculate that March 31st is the date of martyrdom, as St. Benjamin is commemorated along with St. Abdas that day. Of course, they could have also been glorified together, and this could be that date as well. Any further information you find will be greatly appreciated!

#4 Benjamin Amis

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Posted 13 October 2010 - 02:22 PM

So, does no one have any information on the meaning of these two dates?

I need to pick which will be my nameday, and the meaning for them is important to my selection. I'm still looking myself, of course, but if anyone knows anything, please let me know.

Thanks!

#5 Michael Stickles

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Posted 13 October 2010 - 03:46 PM

My searching didn't turn up much of anything. All I would say is that I doubt March 31st is the day of his martyrdom. It looks like a common commemoration day for St. Benjamin and St. Abdas (and, according to at least one source, several others killed in the same persecution), but most sources say that Dcn Benjamin was killed some time after Bishop Abdas (anywhere from thirty days to three years later, depending on the source). I couldn't find anything which would give a hint on the Oct. 13 date.

#6 Benjamin Amis

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Posted 14 October 2010 - 01:18 PM

My searching didn't turn up much of anything. All I would say is that I doubt March 31st is the day of his martyrdom. It looks like a common commemoration day for St. Benjamin and St. Abdas (and, according to at least one source, several others killed in the same persecution), but most sources say that Dcn Benjamin was killed some time after Bishop Abdas (anywhere from thirty days to three years later, depending on the source). I couldn't find anything which would give a hint on the Oct. 13 date.


I'm inclined to agree, given the way that the OCA Lives of the Saints commemorates each day. The March date definitely seems to be a memorial for Ss. Adbas and Benjamin, as well as the others martyred with them, based on the hagiography there. October 13 seems to focus on St. Benjamin for some reason. This inclines me towards the October date.

#7 Luke Gehring

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Posted 29 March 2011 - 11:11 PM

I encountered St. Benjamin for the first time, doing some checking for a catechumen who wasn’t sure he wanted to keep his this name or look for another Saint. I came across him listed in the icon pattern book of Dionysius of Forna, listed for Oct. 13th. This the ONLY icon pattern book in which I could find him, so yes he is not well known. Dionysius says that he should be shown as a deacon with an insipient beard, so in other words he is to look very young, but older than, say St. Stephen. All Orthodox listings I have seen for him say Oct 13, and all Roman Catholic listings I have seen for him are March 31. I have not seen the OCA listing that you mention. It isn’t unusual for an Orthodox Saint’s day and an R. C. Saint’s day to be different, never mind the differences in Julian/Gregorian calendars, and I think that might be what you have going on here.

The broad strokes of his story are the same irrespective of the source I have found; Persian in early to mid 400’s, refused to stop evangelizing when told to, tortured with thorns and reeds, and finally impaled (a very slow death where one is thrust through a wooded stake and die more from exposure than anything).

This is a Saint truly worth knowing!

Edited by Herman Blaydoe, 29 March 2011 - 11:16 PM.
Extraneous formatting removed.





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